The planning application relating to a proposed Lidl supermarket on Batten’s Drive is being heard by committee this week. Details can be seen on this link. Ref: 18/01049/FUL
Back in 2018 I did a poll on here and spoke to local residents in the surrounding area (on the Church Hill side). Overall, the opinion I gathered suggested Church Hill residents were not by a majority opposed to the scheme, but did flag a few issues and concerns.
In my role as the Leisure (Parks & Open Spaces) Portfolio Holder I can confirm the department has also raised concerns – predominately around the shared access point.
The response includes:
“Arrow Valley Country Park car parks could be impacted with overspill from the shoppers from the retail store at key times. There are key annual events at Arrow Valley Country Park that operate a Road Closure at Battens Drive. This is to prioritise health and safety and eliminate the conflict of vehicles and pedestrian crowds accessing the park. Whilst there is a limited number of large scale events throughout the year, the road closure operation will result in prevention/restriction of access, not only to council car parks but also to the applicant’s car park.”
Since then we have had COVID-19 arrive and a massive increase in demand for our parks. The car park demand in this area is very significant, and it is yet to be seen if this demand will reduce once a vaccine is introduced to the general population.
I am not a consultee on this application – the site sits just inside Winyates ward, and so I cannot act as a local Councillor on this matter. However, anyone from Redditch can leave a comment on the application if they wish.
It is not for me to say whether I support or oppose this application. I have listed above just one of the concerns raised. There are other concerns listed by others and you can see those listed on the planning portal under the ‘Public Comments‘ tab.
Looking through the comments it seems the common concerns can be summarised as:
- A store like this should be inside the Kingfisher Centre or at least the town centre
- Redditch doesn’t need another food store
- This kind of development is not appropriate for this location on the edge of the park
- The impact on traffic and parking will be terrible
There are positive comments too around the convenience and being in walking distance for people who live in parts of Church Hill.
On planning matters it is important to remember that people generally only speak up when they’re opposed to something – you never really hear from the people who support it because, as the maxim goes: He who is silent, when he ought to have spoken and was able to, is taken to agree.
This is why I took to the doors in 2018 and 2019 to speak to people in the local area and ran my poll. It would not be possible to speak to everyone and, frankly, a good number of people just didn’t care about the issue. However, if you do want to have your say please do hurry as time is running out to submit comments.